Unless Research In Motion is able to do something in the eleventh hour, it is going to face a devastating blow in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia has ordered that all Blackberry Messenger service must be cut.
Blackberry’s proprietary messaging service does not meet the country’s regulatory requirements, which mandates government must be able to have full access to the communication channel.
“The company is in a pretty tricky position now. Part of the BlackBerry’s appeal is that it offers high levels of security and that same factor is what’s getting it blocked,” said Middle East analyst Matthew Reed in a Bloomberg report.
There are an estimated 35,000 Blackberry users in Saudi Arabia and it had been a potential growth market until this blow.
RIM appears to be more focused on maintaining its integrity than changing its policies for a third-world country. The company told Bloomberg that it “cooperates with all governments with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect.”
The company also risks a larger ban from the United Arab Emirates, which has threatened to ban e-mail use on hundreds of thousands of Blackberry users for similar concerns.